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Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)
Trees are a treasure to us that live in the Southwest where the sun can be relentless with its intensity.
 
We all know the delight of stepping into the cool shade of a tree during a hot summer’s day where their canopy provides blessed relief.
 
Honey Mesquite Bosque (Prosopis glandulosa) at the Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden
 
In addition, to welcome shade, trees also add beauty to the landscape with their lovely shades of green leaves, flowers (in some cases), and the way the dappled shade dances along the ground.
 
Palo Blanco (Mariosousa willardiana) formerly Acacia willardiana

There are many trees native to this region that add both shade and beauty to the garden while thriving in our arid climate.

I recently shared a list of my ten favorite, native trees for the Southwest in my latest article for Houzz.

*Do you have a favorite tree?  Please share it with us!

 

In my humble opinion, a garden should be filled with plants that benefit wildlife.  Imagine a garden that not only rewards you with beauty but also has the wonderful side benefit of allowing you to observe wildlife up close when they come and visit.


Butterflies are so ethereal and you’ll find most people stop and stare whenever they are fortunate enough to have one fly nearby.


Queen butterfly visiting a desert milkweed plant at the Desert Botanical Garden

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the plight of Monarch butterflies and their declining population and how plants belonging to the Milkweed family are so important to them.

Did you know that the Southwest has their own native species of milkweed?  In fact, it is the only milkweed species in the United States that is evergreen.
This milkweed is a succulent that thrives in full sun, provides a unique vertical accent in the garden and needs little care.  

Want to learn more?  Check out my latest plant profile for Houzz.com and see more reasons why you’ll want to add this plant to your garden.

What plants do you have in your garden that butterflies love?

Every year as Christmas approaches and most of my plants have gone to sleep for the winter, my favorite shrub is just getting started…


It begins with small buds appearing along each branch.


By mid-January, the buds have burst open, exposing their crimson centers.


By Valentine’s Day, my shrubs are absolutely covered in masses of red flowers.

Wonder what this shrub is called?

“Valentine”
(Eremophila maculata ‘Valentine’)

You can find out more about my favorite shrub and what it looks like when not in bloom in my latest article for Houzz

Kitchen ideas, bathroom ideas, and more ∨

From designer seating and office desks to message boards and credenza, create your dream home office.
Light up your living spaces with recessed lights, designer chandeliers or even a row of pendant lights.



There is little that can compare to the dramatic silhouette that Ocotillo add to the landscape.

I have been fascinated by these plants ever since I moved to the desert, over 27 years ago.

Since then, I have planted Ocotillo in landscapes around golf courses and even have one of my own, which was a gift for Mother’s Day years ago.

If you would like to learn more about Ocotillo including the fact that they are actually shrubs and not cactus, like many people assume – please check out my latest article for Houzz.com

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

Hire residential landscape architects to help with all aspects of landscape design, from selecting or designing garden furniture, to siting a detached garage or pergola.
As you get ready to host an event, be sure you have enough dining benches and dishes for dinner guests, as well as enough bakeware and kitchen knives sets for food preparation.

**I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and that your refrigerator is filled with delicious leftovers 🙂

Now on to Christmas, my FAVORITE time of year!

Every year, without fail, my thoughts tend to stray away from the garden and begin to focus on the upcoming holidays.


I start to think about out how many people we will be hosting for our annual Thanksgiving feast along with a host of other things… 

Will I be roasting a whole turkey or try to get away with just cooking turkey breasts like we did last year?

Can I ask my oldest daughter into making the trip to Costco and braving the line for their famous pumpkin pie?

Is my mother-in-law up to making her famous stuffing this year or will my sister-in-law be able to help her?

Of course, there are quite a few other Thanksgiving matters on my mind, but I will spare you any further details 😉

Every year when these questions are foremost in my mind and rather far away from my garden, is when my Cascalote tree begins to undergo a beautiful transformation.  Although it is a nice-looking tree throughout the entire year – it gets all dressed up for fall and winter when yellow flowers cover the entire tree canopy.


I bought my Cascalote tree when I was a horticulture student in college.  We took a field trip to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum where they were having a plant sale.

I came back with a 5-gallon Cascalote that I first planted in a large container because we were still in the process of building our house.

Once we moved in, I planted it in our front yard.

That was over 14 years ago and it has grown into a beautiful tree.

You can read more about this uniquely Southwestern tree and why you may want to plant one in your own garden in my latest article for Houzz…

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

From Shabby Chic home decorations to contemporary furniture and the perfect wall mirror, browse thousands of decorating ideas to inspire your next home project.
Find new home builders who can help you create a dream kitchen, complete with stationary kitchen island, a large dining table and a creative cabinet design.


I hope your week is off to a great start!

I don’t have a favorite tree….I actually have quite a few favorites.  But, if I had to pick one that I like most of all, it would be the ‘Desert Museum’ Palo Verde (Parkinsonia x ‘Desert Museum’).  



This Palo Verde is natural hybrid, resulting from 3 other Palo Verde tree species – Mexican Palo Verde (Parkinsonia mexicans), Blue Palo Verde (Parkinsonia florida) and Little Leaf Palo Verde (Parkinsonia microphylla) trees.

I have grown this tree in commercial settings as well as in my own landscape with great results.


They grow quickly, are thornless, and flower over a longer period of time then other Palo Verde species.

‘Desert Museum’ Palo Verdes do great in full sun and areas with reflected heat such as a parking lot or in a west-facing exposure.


I love how beautiful flowers in spring, when they bloom.  I also think they are pretty when they blanket the ground.  
If you are somewhat of a neat and tidy gardener, then you may not enjoy the flowering season as much as I do.

Don’t waste your money on a large-size tree.  Because they grow fairly quickly, a 15-gallon is a good size to start out with.  Once planted in the ground, a 15-gallon will grow more quickly then a larger-size container.  The reason is that smaller trees are younger and handle transplant stress better.  So save yourself money and go with the smaller tree.

Want to learn more about this fabulous tree?

Check out my latest plant profile on Houzz.com

Remodeling, decorating, and more ∨

Hire a decorator to find that sofas and a coffeetable for your living room.
As you revamp your house, browse photos for inspiration on everything from fireplace mantels to crown molding and wainscoting.



One of my favorite shrubs is Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii).  I have used it in countless landscapes and I like how well it does when planted around trees where they can enjoy the filtered shade.


Now that fall is just a couple of days away (SUPER excited about that by the way), my thoughts drift toward plants that bloom in fall, which include Autumn Sage.


For more reasons why you may want to add this delightful plant to your garden, check out my latest article for Houzz.com

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

Hire residential landscape architects to help with all aspects of landscape design, from selecting or designing outside patio furniture, to siting a detached garage or pergola.
As you get ready to host an event, be sure you have enough dining room chairs and dishes for dinner guests, as well as enough bakeware and chef knives for food preparation.

I am so glad that September is finally here!


Oh, I realize that it is still hot, but if you look carefully, there are signs that summer is beginning to wane.  The days are becoming shorter and you can see lengthening shadows at days end.


Fall is a busy time in the garden if you live in the desert Southwest, because that is the best time to add new plants to the garden.


Are you wondering what to do in your garden this month?  Here is my latest garden article from Houzz.com

General contractors, home builders, and more ∨

From Shabby Chic home décor to contemporary furniture and decorative mirrors, browse thousands of decorating ideas to inspire your next home project.
From wall paper to stencils for walls, upholstery fabrics to room dividers, design doesn’t stop at construction.

What are your plans for the garden this month?


**There is still time to enter the giveaway for a fabulous book, “Gardening for the Birds: How to Create a Bird-Friendly Backyard”.


I’ll announce the winner tomorrow!




August has arrived, which means that my kids have started school and peace has descended on my house 🙂


Soon fall will be here, which is a very busy time in the Southwest garden because it is the best time of year to add new plants to the garden.


But in the meantime, there are still tasks that need to be done this month in the garden.


Here is my latest Southwest To Do List from Houzz.com

General contractors, home builders, and more ∨

Hire residential landscape architects to help with all aspects of landscape design, from selecting or designing patio furniture, to siting a detached garage or pergola.
Highlight your home”s architecture with the expert advice of interior design specialists and top home decorators.

I hope your week is off to a good start.

There is still time to enter my giveaway for the newest book from Timber Press – “Miniature Garden Giveaway – Create Your Own Living World”

I realize that it is hard to think of doing anything in the garden, much less step outside with the heat wave that we have been experiencing in the Southwest.



The good news is that you can most likely wait to step out into your garden this weekend, once the heat wave breaks.

Check out my latest monthly “To Do” list that I wrote for Houzz.com

Kitchen ideas, bathroom ideas, and more ∨

Filter by metro area and choose the right kitchen designer for your kitchen style.
Find curtain panels and plantation shutters for french doors, or kitchen curtains and a curtain rod for your kitchen windows.


I hope you are doing your best staying cool 🙂